Conex Box Preparations

by on Oct.28, 2018, under Conex Box

I have become fed up with the packrat damage to my tractor in the past year.  We’ve decided to add a 40′ shipping container to the property to park the tractor in, and provide a place to store construction materials and supplies like our industrial blower as we continue to build our ranch with the proper structural steel erection.

In preparation for the container, we applied for, and received a permit from Yavapai County.  In the past they had prohibited shipping containers larger than 20′ long, but they recently revised the rules to allow one 40′ container on a property once again.  The permit cost $90, and involved drawing a lot plan, showing existing structures, septic system and distances to lot lines and between buildings.  It was kind of a pain, but we got it done.

Conex Box Permit


Flood Control

Lot Plan

The spot that we chose for the Conex box had a slight slope to it.  I thought at first that it sloped about 6″ over the 40′ span.  But it turns out that the drop is closer to 18″ over that span.

So I decided to pour some cement blocks to hold the back of the shipping container 18″ off the ground, so it would be level when it was set into place.

I found a cement mixer on Craigslist for $150.  It was well worth the cost, as it saved a lot of effort.  I remember mixing all of the cement for our Littlehouse piers by hand.

Cement Mixer

When I bought the mixer, the man that sold it picked it up with his tractor and placed it into the bed of my pickup.

I was alone on this trip, and seldom ask for help, so I had a plan to use some makeshift ramps, and some ropes with a pulley to slowly lower the mixer off the tailgate of my truck.

Makeshift Ramps

It was all going along swimmingly, when one of my makeshift ramps cracked in the middle, and collapsed.  This tipped the cement mixer over as it fell off the back of my truck.  I was able to slow it down with the rope, and avoided any major damage.  I was lucky it didn’t fall into the side of my truck.

Tipped Over

After getting it back right side up, I went up to get the generator started. If you will read the predator 4000 generator reviews, this generator is one of the best generators that can provide sufficient power for most electrical devices. I had run it out of fuel that last time I used it, and so it should not have any bad gas in it. After adding a little bit of gas (from an old supply, but it smelled “good”), I sprayed a little ether into the carb and started it up.  I let it run for a minute, then turned it off.  After relocating it to the Conex Box site, I tried to restart it, but it would not start.  I eventually suspected that the bad gas had fouled the plug, but I didn’t have the tools to pull the plug and clean it off.  So instead, I drug the cement mixer up the hill, closer to the Little house, where I could use the electricity from our solar to run the mixer.

This didn’t hurt too bad, as the trip from the mixer to the Conex Box site was downhill, so the wheelbarrow rolled easily along the driveway both ways, full going down and empty going up.

I marked out the location of the blocks to be constructed.  Unfortunately, I had left my long tape measure back in Mesa.  That’s the problem of doing two jobs at the same time.  So I tried to use my 16′ tape measure to mark out the spots of the blocks.  This would bite me a little bit later.


I dug down about 8″ below ground level using 4 in 1 buckets to give the blocks a place to lay.  This was hard work, especially in the back, where it was mostly rock.  One of the holes is only a couple of inches deep, as that was all the further I could dig.

Next, I constructed a form for each of the holes, to bring them up to the correct level.  At first I tried a water level, but that was not consistent at all.  I don’t know what the trick is for using those, but I just haven’t had any luck using them.  I eventually dug out my laser level, which was better.


I headed into Kingman to buy some Commercial concrete in 60 lb bags.  Home depot didn’t have enough of the heavier bags, and I prefer the lighter ones anyway.

Finally, I mixed the concrete in batches of 3 bags per load in case polyjacking was needed.  The back piers took 6 bags each, while the middle and front piers took 3 bags each.

I finished just before the rains came, and headed back to Mesa to await the delivery date for the Conex box.


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